Sunak to Zelensky: We are sending Challenger 2 tanks to Ukraine

LONDON, UK — Britain will send a dozen tanks to Ukraine. The news was officially confirmed by Downing Street 10, where the British Prime Minister Mr. Rishi Sunak works. BBC first reported the news, and a few days ago BulgarianMilitary.com suggested that London would send tanks to Ukraine.

British unit with Challenger tanks will be deployed in Poland
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

In a telephone conversation today, January 14, the British minister informed Ukrainian President Mr. Volodymyr Zelensky about London’s intentions. In addition to tanks, Ukraine will also receive artillery systems.

Mr. Zelensky commented on London’s decision, saying it would send “the right signal to other partners”. 10 Downing Street said sending the Challenger 2 tanks to Ukraine showed London’s commitment to stepping up its support for Kyiv.

The Challenger 2 was developed in the 1980s and has been delivered to the British Army since the mid-1990s. The weapon system weighs 60 tons and is equipped with a 120 mm gun. The British Army used the Challenger in both Bosnia and the Iraq Wars.

London is expected to confirm its decision on January 20 this year during the meeting of the countries involved in supporting Ukraine. The meeting is expected to take place at the Ramstein base, in Germany.

With this move, Britain became the first country among Ukraine’s Western partners to decide to send tanks. Britain was the first country to send lethal weapons to Ukraine immediately after the Russian invasion on February 24, 2022.

Challenger 2 tanks are British production. The main armament consists of one L30A1 120 mm rifled gun with 47 rounds. For defense and close-range combat, the Challenger 2 has one coaxial 7.62 mm L94A1 chain gun EX-34 mounted, and one 7.62 mm L37A2 operator/loader’s hatch machine gun.

Challenger 2 is powered by a single Perkins CV12-6A V12 diesel 26.1-liter engine. It delivers 1,200 horsepower. The maximum range of the tank on a flat road is 550 km, while the off-road range is 250 km.

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